I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas, or rather I should say what Christmas has become: commercialization, materialism, all that kind of crap. I’ve always thought holidays were supposed to be a time to sit back and relax and be stress-free. But actually they’re the most stressful time of the year. I hate seeing Christmas decorations, I hate hearing Christmas music, I’ve just come to hate everything about it.
Last night, when we were driving home in this awful fog, this idea sort of came to me. It was dark, and with the fog we could barely see anything. But I did see Christmas lights on houses we passed. There was a strange tranquil beauty to seeing them like that. (Listening to quiet, soothing music along with it further cemented this). That’s when I thought back to the Christmases I loved when I was a kid.
The biggest impressions I have of Christmas were getting up early when it was still dark, and wanting to sneak downstairs. My parents had a newspaper delivering job that they did early in the morning, so there was a time when I remember my mom wouldn’t let us go downstairs until my dad got back from doing that. We just sat in our room so early that the sun had yet to come up, and we stared out our big window into the driveway, waiting for our dad to pull in.
It was dark and quiet and there was snow covering the ground. There were probably Christmas lights on the house next door. Even though we as children had the impression that we were doing this in anticipation of opening presents, now that I’m an adult I look back on this memory and just remember it for what it was: a quiet moment.
To me, that’s what Christmas is actually about. Those quiet, still moments where you just sit back and look at the world, to reflect and think, or to appreciate the small beauties you see when the rest of the world seems to be spinning out of control. It’s kind of the point of the song Silent Night, after all.
So this year, why don’t you just take time and sit still. Sit at the window and look at the Christmas lights. Just make it dark with only that little bit of illumination. Close your eyes and breathe. Relax. Reflect. Remember what these moments are for and what they’re truly about.
Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, I hope it’s a good one. Take care.